Americans Rather Like the United Nations

Americans — still — rather like the United Nations and think the United States should remain engaged in the world body. According to polling data released yesterday, the UN is a relatively popular institution among American voters, far more than the US Congress, NATO and Barack Obama.

That is the top line result of the newest poll conducted on behalf of the Better World Campaign by the bi-partisan polling team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research and Associates. This team polls likely American voters every six months on their attitudes towards the United Nations and related things.

The newest round of polling was conducted from April 12-17.  It found:

— Overall, two-thirds of voters favor the United States paying our peacekeeping dues to the  United Nations on time and in full (66% favor/31% oppose). When informed that the United States did not pay all of the peacekeeping dues owed to the UN this year, nearly seven in ten voters say they would tell their Member of Congress (MOC) to support a  proposal to pay our peacekeeping dues (67% tell MOC to support proposal/26% tell MOC to oppose proposal).

–Majorities of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats say they would tell their MOC  to support a proposal to pay our peacekeeping dues.

— Voters recognize the benefits of the United States working through the United Nations.  More than seven in ten voters believe that working through the United Nations to  address and resolve international issues improves America’s image around the world (73% agree/26% disagree).

— Two-thirds of voters believe that working through the United Nations helps keep the  United States strong and secure (66% agree/31% disagree). More than seven in ten voters believe the U.S. needs the UN now more than ever  because we cannot bear all the burden and cannot afford to pay to go it alone around the world (72% agree/26% disagree).

The poll also gauges the favorability ratings of the UN and related people and institutions. This is what it found.

Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 10.09.52 AM

The big takeaways of this poll are twofold. First, it serves as a useful reminder that Americans are not intrinsically hostile to the UN–and in fact, UN bashing really does not resonate with most Americans. This is significant because we are about to enter an election season in which candidates sometimes like to take pokes at the UN, which can be an easy target. Second, Americans want the United States to play a leadership role in the United Nations. This includes supporting the UN through paying dues and other forms of constructive engagement. This is significant because the USA is behind on its UN peacekeeping dues, which undermines the ability of Blue Helmets to do the job they are asked to do in places like South Sudan and Mali.

There are some other interesting nuggets in the data. Here is the full schedule of questions and answers, some of which may surprise you.